Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA has demolished close to 30 temporary structures near Busega market sending several vendors into tears. The KCCA law enforcement team descended on the structures in which vendors have run their businesses for years, saying they are in the road reserve.
KCCA moved in to demolish the structures on the directives of the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja ordering the vendors to vacate the area to pave way for the construction of access roads to the newly constructed Busega Market. Nabbanja issued the directive two months ago but vendors remained adamant and petitioned the court to block its implementation.
As they waited for the court to determine their case, the vendors say, security officials asked them on Wednesday night to be ready to remove their merchandise from the shops because of the impending demolition. The vendors however say that before they could remove their merchandise, KCCA officers started demolishing the structures on Thursday.
They say in a rush to save their merchandise, they threw it out but some of the merchandise didn’t survive thieves. Several vendors say they don’t have space in Busega market, and hence have no place to work following their eviction.
Following the Prime Minister’s directive, vendors petitioned the office of the Lord Mayor seeking that the city authority plan for them if they were to vacate the area as directed.
They demanded an alternative place to run their businesses. The City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago says that they had a discussion in the City Executive Committee regarding the matter and resolved that the vendors be left alone as the authority plans for them.
The city Executive Committee in September presented before the Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA Council led by the Speaker Zahra Luyirika a report containing several resolutions, which were adopted by Council.
Luyirika says that the council also resolved to visit the area and listen to vendors’ grievances before forging a permanent solution for them. She says that they had planned to make a visit on Thursday October 6th, 2022 but were told by some KCCA technical staff that the Prime Minister was to visit the area and they hence needed to reschedule their visit. To their surprise, she says, they later learned of the demolition exercise.
Henry Bukenya, the KCCA Manager of Commercial Services, says that they have been engaging the vendors for more than two months to vacate the area but several were being misled by politicians. He says the vendors were informed of the demolition exercise and were allowed to remove their merchandise, which they did.
“Some of the vendors have space in the old market but have just chosen to work there. They erected illegal structures which we asked them to remove,” said Bukenya. He also says that with the eviction of the vendors, they shall embark on constructing the Old Mubende road and other access roads leading to the market.
He says the new market shall soon be opened. Currently, the stall allocation committee is registering vendors to take up space in the new market. Registration is expected to end on Tuesday 11th October 2022. With a capacity of over 2000 traders, only vendors from the old Busega market shall operate from the new market.
Busega market is being constructed under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP) with support from the Arab Bank of Economic Development in Africa (BADEA). BADEA financed the first phase of the construction works at US$5.42m (Shs19bn) while the Government of Uganda bankrolled the second phase to a tune of $6.8m (Shs 23.8bn). The works are being undertaken by Arab contractors. The market has shops, stalls, open spaces, toilets, and a parking lot in addition to ramps for easy access by People with Disabilities (PWDs)